by Brenda W. Clough
I don’t know when scones became popular in the US, but it has been within my lifetime — I do not believe I saw them when I was a girl. For the scone as it is in American parlance, we need go nowhere else than the ubiquitous Starbucks, and view their extremely popular Petite vanilla scone. Look at the frosting on this thing! And click on the link to see the massive calorie count and sugar load, on a pastry item less than two inches across. Their regular size scones are more than four inches across. I have eaten the Petite Vanilla Scone and can tell you now it is far too sweet, so sugary any perfume of vanilla is lost. And the cloak of frosting impacts crispness in a deplorable way.
This is the kind of thing you eat with a large cup of unsugared coffee. You cannot dip it, you cannot butter it. They do not look at all like Phyl’s product, do they, Phyl? A brief Google search turns up a woman who IMO is crazy (honey, with this kind of energy and devotion you could cure cancer! You could write a space trilogy! You could run for Congress!) because she has reverse-engineered this confection, here. Her startling addition is vanilla pudding mix. Sometimes I despair of America, I really do. But note that the scone basics are there as well: butter, egg, sugar, flour, and a riser. Some things are classic. Just not this one.
Other American scones have additions like chocolate chips (a favorite, I do confess, but I would eat the Sunday Post if only it had semi-sweet chocolate chips in it), orange flavoring and dried cranberries (remember Americans put cranberries into all kinds of inappropriate things) and blueberries (also a national favorite). If it were not for the Petite Vanilla Scone (one of Starbucks’ most popular items, God knows why) I would have said that Americans consistently make a British baked item larger. Because we like large things, especially to eat. Am I correct, oh you persons of British extraction, in saying that all these additions (slatherings of frosting, cranberries, chocolate chips) are entirely alien to the British scone?